A fish stinks from Prague Castle...
Three Czech soldiers, members of the so-called Czech "Special Forces" (do not take it too seriously, the standards for Czech Special Forces are even lower than for the Russian Spetznaz and members are routinely recruited from the worst possible scum and lowest possible common-denominator criminal elements) attacked (under the influence of drugs and alcohol) a group of teenagers celebrating birthdays, beat them up, kidnapped the young Australian Angelo Catalano and stuffed him into the trunk of their car. They drove him twenty miles into a forest, took him out of the trunk, stripped him naked and started torturing him: cutting him with knives and threatening to cut off his head Taliban style. The deep knife cuts and wounds on his neck, which required stitching and extensive medical attention, are sufficient proof of that.
Eventually, when the drugs and alcohol worked their way out of their systems, they decided against murdering the kid and took him to a local police station with a fake accusation that the attacked kid was a drug dealer. They left him there and happily returned to their garrison. The Czech post-communist police did not provide any medical help to the injured Angelo Catalano and let him sit behind bars for almost a full day without investigating. That's fairly typical for that East European country - old habits die hard...
So far it looks like nothing out of the ordinary a random act of violence. But wait, there’s more. The mother of the attacked kid, Australian journalist Hana Catalano, made a name for herself in the Czech Republic by penning a number of articles critical (you guessed it) of the Czech army and the slimy slow march of post-communist government of Czech Republic toward democracy. In the eyes of the current Czech regime and the army (which is still run by former communists) this is a serious offense and she is a veritable and certifiable enemy of the state. What better way for Czech despots, tyrants and Lukashenko's to get back at that annoying woman than to rough up her son? Brilliant! It has been used many times before in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia - and it works every time!
It worked fantastically this time as well. During my last communication with Hana Catalano, in which we discussed this article, she more or less begged me not to write anything about the political background of the whole case - because according to her, there is none. I beg to differ and not because I am paranoid. I am not - I am just very, very experienced. The refusal of victims to clearly acknowledge who has hurt them has a long history in that part of the world, long before the diagnosis of Stockholm Syndrome. Millions of victims of such supertyrants as Stalin, Hitler or Gottwald (or lesser tyrants with fewer victims such as Vaclav Havel or Vaclav Klaus) went to their deaths believing that "only the people around him are the evil ones, Stalin himself did not know about it and is a saint!" Time-adjusted projection of the same effect mirrored itself on Hana Catalano in her refusal to realize who is really guilty for the attack on her son.
You don't have to be an FBI profiler to see the pattern - and there is one. Harassment and violence of this kind against people and journalists critical toward their regime are basic working tools of every tyrannical bully regime in the world - and the current Czech regime is quite high on that scale.
People are hurt, harassed and killed every day - but in the Czech Republic they always have to be something extra. Ordinary people that keep their mouths shut, accept their lot in life and quietly drink their beer are rarely attacked. Consider this: a man was killed in Prague on January 30, 2008. He was stabbed to death. By policeman! Seeing no major patterns so far except the Muslim passion of Czech soldiers and policemen for knives? The man was an American named Mike Murray. Foreign origin is the first pattern. Foreigners are the first ones to be attacked in the Czech Republic (being robbed is obviously not enough). The second pattern is a hidden one. It turns out that Mike Murray was not just an ordinary beer-drinking American tourist; he was an absolutely sober Pentagon employee working at the U.S. Army Air Base in Hohenfels, Germany. You could say that Catalano’s attackers knew nothing about their victims' mother’s critical political stances. Yeah, sure and I’m the King of jolly old England. Now we have a second pattern.
Recently another murder of an American tourist was publicized and as far as I know never solved. The murder of Roy Breimon from Washington, D.C. It was publicized only abroad - Czechs keep these things tightly under wraps (the words "Czech journalist" are actually a running joke) because they never write about things like that. His murder has another interesting twist. Not only was Breimon proclaimed by Czech police to be gay (is homosexuality justification for murder in the Czech Republic?) and because of that the Czech police are (and I quote) "reluctant to investigate" and "law enforcement does not consider these cases a priority." Also "Breimon is the second gay man found dead in his apartment in 15 months. His murder, along with that of Grant Russell of New Zealand, has prompted many to question whether the Czech Republic is safe for the tens of thousands of gay tourists who visit the country every year."
Australians have very colorful saying that they do not call something a shovel, when it is in fact a f****ng spade. Czechs have much softer proverb claiming that "a fish stinks from its head", meaning that nothing that suspicious with so many indicative patterns happens without quiet approval of higher powers. These incidents and murders are not accidental - they are systematic. That's how things work in Eastern Europe.
The highest crime the now disgraced former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel committed on his own country was keeping the judiciary, military and police firmly in the hands of former communists - and their stripes never change. So the sad result is that almost twenty years since apparently embracing democracy, the allegedly communist-free Czech Republic has a dismal record of human rights abuse of all kinds. Among the worst examples are the wrongful imprisonments and persecution of Vladimir Hucin, Yekta Uzunoglu, Roman Hrubant and keeping the judge directly responsible for the murder of Pavel Wonka, the allegedly honorable JUDr. Marcela Horvathova, on the bench. All of that is solely Havel's responsibility and crime. These travesties of justice are the rule in the Czech Republic - not the exception.
What is the relation of the above to the cases of Australian Angelo Catalano or American Mike Murray? Well, in both cases the Czech justice (or injustice) system decided that the accused murderers (soldiers and policemen) are free to go and that the cases will be slowly investigated with emphasis on slowly, with the hope that it will be forgotten and swept under the rug. So the drug-addicted "soldiers" parade around Tabor in their uniforms and the knife-wielding "policeman" patrols Prague and everything is just fine and dandy. After all, the victims are just hated foreigners, so what’s the big deal?
Come to your own conclusion. Is the Czech Republic safe for foreign tourists (homosexual or not)? Is the Czech Republic safe for any civilized foreigner? And is the Czech Republic safe for democracy? You have to make that decision. But one thing is for certain you won’t see me there.
-----The author, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org expressly agrees with further re-distribution of this article, provided it is unaltered.